Welcome to the Age of The Intimate Internet
The internet & social media gave everyone a voice, audience, and a ticket to the party. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram made it easy for you to express yourself and feel heard. It turns out, if you create the largest party in history, hand out microphones to everyone, then the party becomes pretty damn noisy. Everyone is trying to speak over everyone else and it just stops feeling like a good time. Where’s the exit?
People have found increasing refuge in groups; your group chat is your new social network, your Discord group, your Slack community, your Fortnite worlds, even your local Twitter, black Twitter, or gay Twitter. It’s your iMessage thread with your high school buddies, your Snap group and your Island 🌴.
What people are seeking online today is intimacy. They want to hang out with their people, not everyone they know. They want a party where they can act their quirky selves. Facebook alone has 1 Billion users on their Groups product. Billions of dollars of wealth through these companies have been created (ie: Discord is valued at $1.65B). This is completely changing how the internet is structured and where people are spending their time. The Facebooks of the world are taking notice.
In February 2017, Zuckerberg famously changed the mission statement of Facebook from “to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected” (AKA give everyone a microphone) to “to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together” (AKA insert intimacy). This was the official announcement of the new age.
I’m excited for this new age of The Intimate Internet. It means young people can have safe places to learn about who they are. It means more substance and less sizzle. It’s actually a return to the early days of the internet in a lot of ways. All that’s new is old.
Long live the Intimate Internet.